David hit the nail on the head. Make sure that you check your credit reports approximately 45-60 days after your bankruptcy has discharged. You will want to go over your credit report with a fine tooth comb to make sure that every account you discharged under the bankruptcy is reporting as such. Often times, tradelines may report incorrect account balances, incorrect statuses, and incorrect payment histories. Make sure that every account you discharged in your bankruptcy is reporting a status of "included in bankruptcy" and that every balance is $0. You may also have the option (depending what state you are in), to contact the credit reporting agencies and request that they delete the payment histories of the accounts, leaving just the bare bones account info.
Good Luck With Your Fresh Start!!!
"Be extra careful to make each [of] your minimum payments on time each month," says Barry Paperno, product support manager for FICO, inventor of the FICO score. "If you're late making payments now, bring them current immediately and keep them current." Your payment history makes up the largest part of your credit score (35 percent), and it takes longer to raise your score after late payments than it does for some other issues.
Pay down debt
Since the FICO formula looks at your credit card limits and balances, both individually and in total, shifting balances around won't make your bottom line look any better. Instead, you'll want to pay down balances while continuing to use the cards, says Paperno. Ideally, you'll want to aim for a utilization percentage, both individually and in total, of under 10 percent. That means you're using less than 10 percent of available credit on any one of your cards.
Don't close accounts
Length of credit history is another important part of your credit score, so closing old accounts could actually hurt you. That's because potential mortgage lenders want to know you've been responsible with credit for a good long time. Keep older accounts active by making small charges on each one at least every few months and then paying those charges off right away, advises Paperno. "Using your cards regularly keeps them active, which ensures that your credit limits on these cards continue to be open and included in your credit utilization. Contrary to popular belief, you won't be penalized for having lots of available credit.
Joel Lobb (NMLS#57916)
Senior Loan Officer
Key Financial Mortgage Co. (NMLS #1800)*
107 South Hurstbourne Parkway*
Louisville, KY 40222*
The guidelines begin with the discharge date. FHA requires a minimum of two years from then and Fannie Mae (conventional mortgages) requires three years to have passed.